What could shepherds and kings possibly have in common? This third week of Advent we invite you to reflect with Fr. Jim Vacco, OFM from St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, NY. In this video, Fr. Jim speaks about the arrival of shepherds and kings at the stable in Bethlehem. He explains how and why the city acted as a bridge between Magi from the East and the Shepherds from the West. As Fr. Jim says, the city of Bethlehem symbolically brought together various groups of people from different lives, just as the birth of Jesus did. Fr. Jim also shares the work of the Franciscan Friars and volunteers at St. Bonaventure Parish and thrift store in Allegany. The thrift store, called The Bridge, is an outreach program which provides for people in need of assistance of housing, clothing and basic necessities. This Christmas season, as we consider our lives and all the great blessings God has given us, we should also reflect on those who have so much less than we do. I ask you to remember the hundreds of homeless and struggling people whom the Franciscan Friars care for each day. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
Celebrating the gentle touch of God on the face of humanity. Wishing you tender blessings of Christmas and a gentle and happy New Year. Watch the video above to hear the story of the First Christmas Nativity scene! Fr. David Convertino, OFM, Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
Hi, I’m Fr. David, a Franciscan Friar who is happy to introduce you to four of my brother Friars who will visit you like the spirits in Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. As you can hear, I have a cold – we call this a common cold, and that leads me to ask you a question- "What does Christmas, a story about a stable, Inn Keepers, 3 Kings and Shepherds, that we are all familiar with, have in common with the homeless, the hungry, and the mentally ill?" EVERYTHING!! Over the next four weeks of Advent, you will hear how all of these elements fall together into the Christmas story we all know and love. Listen as the Franciscan Friars speak about how their Christmas stories come to life in the daily dealings they have with the many human beings who enter their lives empty and leave fuller and more alive. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
This second week of Advent, we reflect on Mary and Joseph looking for a place to give birth to Jesus after being turned away at the Inn. As many know, they soon find shelter: a humble stable where something great will soon happen. This week Fr. Bill McIntyre, OFM reflects on the humble work being done by The Franciscan Friars and volunteers at St. Peter Claver Food Pantry in Macon, Georgia. Although much like the stable, this pantry is small and can use improvements- the Friars and volunteers find a way to make something great happen each week by feeding and caring for many families, children and elderly people in the neighborhood. Please enjoy this reflection as we celebrate the second week of Advent. For it is in your name and only with your generosity that the Franciscan Friars can continue to provide basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter and medical assistance to over 2 million men, women and children each year at our various ministry locations like St. Peter Claver Food Pantry. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
We will soon celebrate the Feast of the Assumption - the wondrous moment when God took Mary into Heaven, body and soul, to be joyously reunited with the Holy Family. Born on the Feast of the Assumption, St. Anthony’s life was interwoven with the Blessed Mother. He spent years preaching about her importance and grace, right up until his final moments when he sang his favorite hymn to her. Christopher and Michelle, these feast days, like the Assumption of Mary, give us insight into our relationship with our all-loving God. The great Feast of the Assumption of Mary gives us hope that we will follow Our Lady in death to be with her and her Son Jesus in eternal life. Did you know that The Feast of The Assumption of Mary is the oldest feast day of Our Lady and that no one knows when or where it began to be celebrated in the Church? I think it’s a beautiful story of how God works in our lives. It seems that after The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built in 336AD, events in the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the Christians in Jerusalem. One of the stories about His mother centered around the “Tomb of Mary,” which was close to Mount Zion and where the early Christian community had lived. It’s important for us to understand [...]
For several weeks the world watched the rescue of twelve members of a soccer team and their coach who had been trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. None of the possible rescue scenarios was without danger, as the death of Thailand's former Navy Seal .Saman Kunan demonstrated when after delivering oxygen tanks to the cave, his own oxygen supply ran out. By the time this blog is posted, it is expected the thirteen who were rescued will have been released from the hospital although they and their families continue to need our prayers as they cope with memories and international fame. We should also pray for Kunan’s widow who told those rescued not to blame themselves for her husband’s death. In the days leading to the rescue, the boys had become everyone’s children. The lesson and the challenge is to remember that everyone we meet is someone’s child. As disciples of Christ, we are called to act in right relation to the world and to one another. While most of our decisions will not involve life or death situations, some complicated situations might freeze us in indecision. In those times, let us turn to our mother as Mary, Untier of Knots. Depicted in a painting by Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner, Mary receives the knotted ribbon of human problems, unties it and passes it on to another angel. Mary will companion [...]
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire from the Supreme Court has caused great speculation and concern about future nominees and has aroused many memories of Kennedy’s position on the court as a Republican appointed by a Republican president who often was the swing vote, siding sometimes with the liberal judges, sometimes with the conservatives. In speeches and in writing formal opinions, Kennedy often expressed the need to begin with the Constitution, consider the context of American liberties and to consider human dignity. By nature, court cases involve a winner and a loser and people of good conscience can disagree over particular judicial points, but those disagreements should be based on careful consideration of facts and concern for the common good. Even before President Trump announced his nomination, pundits and politicians were devising strategies to block or approve the nominee for political advantage. Let us ask Mary, Seat of Wisdom, to pray that our leaders make judgments that serve and unite our country. And let us follow Mary’s wise example by being gentle and strong enough to listen for and respond to God’s will.
July 4th called us to remember once again the ideals affirmed in our country's founding documents. On Thursday, June 29th, five staff members of the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, were murdered, apparently targeted by a gunman who in 2012 had made an unsuccessful attempt to sue the newspaper group for defamation. In a time when journalists are increasingly under verbal and sometimes physical attack, the tributes to the slain workers – four journalists and a sales associate – remind us of the true vocation of the news media to seek and publish the truth so that the rest of us might be informed and engaged citizens in the local, state, national and global communities in which we live. May our Blessed Mother give comfort to all who mourn and to all who have suffered violence. And may we all look to Mary as one who sought and followed the truth, for when the angel announced God’s plan, Mary’s first response was an open-minded and open-hearted question: “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Assured that the power of the Holy Spirit would accomplish God’s will, Mary said yes to God with her words and her life. May we follow Mary’s example in seeking truth and following the Spirit’s promptings.